I’m a stickler when it comes to car seat safety. I figure, we’re in the car for so many hours out of our days, it’s best to be up to date on the latest safety recommendations.
These are the top 5 tips I tell parents daily. A little preparation upfront and you can rest assured that you’re doing your best to keep your children as safe as possible in the event of a car accident.
And with all the summer travel we do, now is the perfect time to brush up, re-evaluate, and maximize car seat safety for your family.
1. Keep your baby/toddler rear-facing as long as possible. Preferably, until at least 2 years old. Once your baby outgrows her infant car seat, she can graduate to a convertible car seat (one that can rear and forward face). And don’t worry, it’s perfectly fine for her to sit frog-legged back there.
2. Keep your child in a 5 point harness for as long as possible. So, your child is 4 years old and weighs more than 4o pounds? No need to rush to the booster. My 7 year old son is still in a 5 point harness. I kid you not. Seriously, they make 5 point harnessed car seats that accommodate up to 80 pounds. As long as your child is within the height and weight limit of his 5 point harness, it really is the safer way to travel. Sure, he’s received some peer flak for it during car pools, but we shrug and laugh it off.
Safety is more important.
3. The LATCH system has a weight limit. This is something that not many parents are aware of. The combination of your child’s weight plus the weight of your car seat should not exceed 65 pounds. If you’re unsure about the weight of your car seat, switch to the seat belt to secure the car seat if your child weighs more than 40 pounds.
4. Don’t rush out of a booster. Once your child is ready for a booster, keep her there until she’s 4 feet 9 inches. This is to ensure that the seat belt fits your child properly and that it’s not riding across her neck or above her hips. Do this 5 step test to see if your child is ready to move out of her booster. This could be anywhere from 8-13 years old!
5. No riding in the front seat until 13 years old. Stay strong on this one. The recommendation is a solid one. Though your “bigger than me” 12 year old may seem just fine in the front seat, on the inside her bones are still developing. Studies have demonstrated that the back seat is safest. Read this great post by Dr. Natasha Burgert on the whys of this important car safety rule.
Wishing you all fun and safe summer travels! What questions do you have about car seat safety?
More car seat safety reading and information:Pin It